Greetings! During my recent hiatus, I had discovered and watched a bunch of older series for the first time. As I mentioned in my last post, I had decided to take a deeper dive into KyoAni’s catalog following the tragic events that occurred then. I also have been trying to find stuff to watch to ease stress, help me relax, and to just have a good time (as I’m sure many of you are now). One of first series I dived into was one that I’ll admit I had been curious about for a while as I heard many people talk about the franchise and how great it was. I don’t make all of my viewing decisions based off of other people’s opinions but there was so much positive things being said that I had to check it out. That series is of course K-On, a series which exceeded any expectations that I had for it.
K-On hooked me right away with it’s fun cast of characters that are not only great on the own but compliment each other perfectly. It is rare to look at series and to be hard pressed to find a character that you didn’t like and K-On is one of those rare gems. Both the individual and group moments throughout the series are fun to watch. All of the girls are more than just typical one note stereotypes. Yui is bright and cheerful but also lazy and a little ditsy. Ritsu is a prankster but also really cares about her friends. Tsumugi is the quite one of the bunch but also contains a child like wonder at the world around her. Azusa is the voice of reason but also comes to appreciate the fun the fun they had as a group. My favorite out of the group is Mio whose combination of her studious side and her shy nature is just an absolute treat to watch. Let’s not forget about the side characters as well. None feel like throw away characters and give our main cast more fun tings to play off of. Their unofficial 6th member of the club and adviser Sawako is a great example of this. While she is supposed to be the adult supervision of the group, she typically will add to the group hi jinks. From dressing the girls in silly costumes to encouraging them to spend more time slacking off, Sawa-chan as she lovingly refered to by the members of the club is just as wacky as her students. This group is truly an ensemble with no one character dominating the story. K-On loses nothing bouncing its narrative between its individual characters as all characters are equally as compelling to watch. The adventures of the entire group as well are insanely fun to watch as putting these personality traits together leads to many fun and hilarious moments. Rarely do you find these characters in conflict. While it is not realistic, it is a nice thing to experience from time to time.
While many series’ big hook is the drama and conflicts that the characters face, K-On is the exact opposite and I mean this with the upmost of praise. The series doesn’t have any major conflict or any spectacular goal that it’s characters are trying to reach, they are simply taking it one day and a time and enjoying life and the company of each other. K-On’s philosophy is simply less is more. The only overarching story is the high school lives of the characters, there is no rival group hell bent on being better than the main cast nor a nasty antagonist to stop them from achieving their dreams. In fact, the amount of time that the group is actually focused on music is somewhat limited. Instead the music and the band are simply a catalyst for bring the cast together. The only thing that they are going up against is simply the passage of time and the inevitability that they leave school and continue with their lives. And while there are both happy and sad moments in their journey, the overall message is a positive one. The experiences that we have and the bonds that we forge are what make life great. There is also pleasure to be taken by the most mundane of experiences. There is something refreshing about such a statement being told and it is one that we need now more than ever.
One can tell that the individuals who worked on K-On saw it as a labor of love. The series while generally upbeat handles it’s more dramatic moments with care. It takes the just amount of time on such issues, not brushing them off nor letting them dominate the narrative. The ending of the series is a perfect example with the girls coming reaching a point that we all dread- having to move on from high school and leaving people behind. While a sad experience to watch, K-On handles it was a certain amount of optimism-an optimism that says any true friendships will never end. This was a case where the ending simply felt right- while you were sad that the status quo was changing for the characters, you knew that there bonds weren’t going to break. You knew that things were going to be fine for all of them and honestly I can’t think of a better way to end such a story.
Even though the series is now 10 years old, it has aged really well. The animation quality is still top tier today. Like with other KyoAni works, there is an insane intention to detail from the movements of the characters playing the instruments to subtle reactions of the characters to the events around them. The music both in the backgrounds and that girls perform is catchy, fun and upbeat. It honestly suits the series perfectly. Such love is also shown in the opening/ending credit sequences and in episode song performances as well. The series music captures the fun nature of the series with the Ops getting you hyped up for the upcoming episode and can also capture the series more emotinal notes. The songs are a great addition to the series’ overall experience and are great to listen to on their own. Not only are the songs incredibly catchy and enjoyable to listen to but the fact that you got to see the op and ed songs presented in a music video style is absolutely genius. Who wouldn’t laugh out loud at a song touting the greatness of rice as a side dish? Rice is a Side Dish is literally one of the songs they perform. It is a fun incentive to not skip the credits and an extra bonus added to an already great experience.
It is commonly said that in life less is more and with K-On that phrase certainly applies. K-On’s promise to it’s audience is a simple one- just watch and enjoy the simple experiences that Yui, Mugi, Mio, Ritsu, and Azusa are. It doesn’t promise any bombastic plots filled with dozens of intermingling sub plots, moral and philosophical discussions or ask you to ponder the meanings of life. K-On simply asks you to sit down, have some cakes and tea and enjoy the company of friends. This is why I enjoy the series so much. It asks so little of it’s audience and provides so much in return. It is a fun breath of fresh air with awesome characters, a fun as hell story, and an experience that anyone can enjoy. If you are looking for a series which will just make you feel good or are looking to have to some fun then I would certainly recommend K-On to you. Even if this series may not seem not seem like something you would enjoy, I would urge you to give it a shot. We all need to relieve stress in these trying times and watching K-On is a great way to do so.
Thank you for reading my thoughts on K-On. Have you seen the series? If so what did you think of it? Please comment down below. Also feel free to follow me on Twitter (@railgunfan75) or Facebook (Railgunfan75’s Geek Blog) for future updates. So until next time, this is Railgunfan75 signing off. Remember to stay safe out there and to treat others with respect. It goes a long way. And of course, stay geeky my friends!